Combating Self-Esteem Scars
April 29, 2013

Combating Self-Esteem Scars

No matter our race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or beliefs, all of us deal with low self-esteem from time to time. Most of us pick ourselves up and figure out how to combat the ills that self-esteem issues bring. However, some deal with chronic and debilitating self-esteem issues, issues that lead to bigger problems such as self-sabotage, depression, and unrealistic expectations.

Recently, released information particular to low self-esteem. In fact, the study found that for some people, low self-esteem becomes so deeply ingrained in a person’s mind that it becomes inseparable to their personality. Often this happens because people poke fun or make little insults against themselves. Phrases like “I’m such a dork,” “What a dummy I am,” or “I always make stupid mistakes,” really impact our personal self-esteem levels. explained that people who criticize themselves several times a day are more likely to:

  • Have low self-esteem overall (score of 43 on a scale of 0 to 100), compared to those who do so occasionally (score of 65) and those who rarely do so (score of 77).
  • Have a low sense of self-worth (score of 44 vs. 68 vs. 81).
  • Have a strong desire for approval from others (score of 59 vs. 42 vs. 30).
  • Feel inadequate or experience thoughts/feelings of never being good enough. For example:
    • 64% ask others for approval before making a decision.
    • 66% believe that they are “worthless and useless.”
    • 57% consider themselves a failure.
    • 51% feel that they will never amount to anything significant.
  • Set unrealistic expectations or excessively high standards for themselves. For example:
    • 54% said that a partial failure is just as bad as a complete failure.
    • 49% said that if they can’t do something perfectly, they would rather not do it.
    • 38% said that failing any one thing makes them a failure as a person.

None of these is good. All may lead to greater issues and, frankly, might prevent someone from success. That is the devastation of low self-esteem; those who suffer from it basically sabotage themselves. As Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of PsychTests, said, “You start to question yourself – your skills, your ability to succeed, and even your relationships. You start to worry about everything. You become cautious and reluctant to take any risks. Your self-doubt results in decisions that reflect your lack of faith in yourself, like not going for that job, not asking that person out, or not asserting yourself when you should. Essentially, once low self-esteem infiltrates your life, it becomes a part of who you are – you start to believe the lies it tells you, and may end up becoming the failure that you think you are.”

If you do not have confidence in yourself, then who else will? In fact, who else can? If you have no self-esteem, you likely will not believe anyone else’s confidence in you. And if you constantly put yourself down, then who else can help lift you up? Confidence in ourselves is quite possibly one of the most important virtues to have.

I do not mean that we should be egotistic or myopic. We should not be cruel to others in order to lift ourselves up. We should, however, believe in ourselves. We owe that to our psyches. We owe that to ourselves.

Health is not just about being fit and eating right. Health also concerns our mental and emotional well being. We deserve to treat ourselves right. We must stop putting ourselves down, even in jest or humility. We must be honest. Yes, we make mistakes…all humans do. Mistakes do not mean we are stupid. Instead of saying, “I make stupid mistakes,” suggests using phrases like, “I am human, and I’m allowed to make mistakes.” This acknowledges the mistake without the scar to self-esteem.

So, the next time you catch yourself feeling low self-esteem or putting yourself down, stop it. You are worth more than a putdown.

If you’d like to take the Queendom’s Self-esteem Test, click here.

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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